Brussels: Linking up anti-missile systems to protect NATO’s European nations would cost under 200 million euros (250 million dollars) over 10 years, the alliance’s secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday.
“We have a sufficient intelligence to know that we’re faced with a real threat, with Iranian aspirations as regards missile technology and nuclear programmes,” Rasmussen told a press conference at NATO headquarters.
“For this additional cost of less than 200 million euros over 10 years you’ll get full coverage geographically as well as protection against the threat we can envisage today,” he added.
“It is not a big cost to get real protection against a real threat,” he said, adding that there was a growing consensus among NATO allies on the threats they face.
NATO is already developing an anti-missile system to protect its soldiers on missions, but the bigger plan would extend that protection to civilians as well.
Rasmussen said he was “confident” of getting agreement for his plan at a NATO summit in Lisbon in November.
“As far as military feasability is concerned, our military has investigated that carefully and will present a report to be discussed by ministers,” he assured.
“They’ll have solid ground to take a political decision.”
The command and control system would rely on the missile systems which are either already in place or under construction, such as the German and Dutch schemes and the one the United States intends to deploy in eastern Europe.
Rasmussen’s plans are different from the “shield” proposed by former US president George W. Bush, which fell amid Russian resistance.
It would “make sense, from political and military perspectives, to speak with Russia,” Rasmussen reiterated, after a series of recent overtures to Moscow inviting Russia to create a shared missile defence umbrella stretching from “Vancouver to Vladivostock.”